SPANISH FORK, UT – The Utah Youth Education in Shooting Sports program (UTYESS), began its season with record-breaking attendance at the 2020 Season Opener, held February 8, 2020. The season opener had over 320 student-athlete entries in the 150-target competition, including participants from Utah and Idaho.
“Youth shooting sports today is the nation’s fastest-growing high school sport,” said Brian Beard, President of UTYESS. “The same is true for here in Utah as well”.
Statewide the UTYESS program has approximately 300 student-athletes; which is an increase of over 20% since the previous season closed in June 2019. Since June, UTYESS has added seven new teams statewide to meet the growing demand for youth shooting sports in Utah.
Many of the student-athletes participate in UTYESS events for far more than just shooting opportunities. UTYESS is a scholastic program in the state of Utah offering a USAYESS independent high school lettering program. Last year, 63 high school letters were awarded. To earn a letter, athletes need to maintain a pre-determined GPA in high school, maintain attendance at practices and competitions, achieve the required scores in shooting, complete four service projects, and meet the other objectives set forth in the lettering program.
For first-year competitors, UTYESS offers the Utah Rookies of the Year award. The Rookie of the Year is awarded to a first-year competitor in each category: Novice, Intermediate, Junior Varsity, Senior, Collegiate, and Ladies. In addition to attending the required number of UTYESS events, student-athletes must apply for the Rookie of the Year award and provide an athlete resume. The applying athletes are asked to submit information such as trophies and awards earned both in UTYESS events and other shooting avenues, a brief description of what they enjoyed most during their first year of competition, and a brief description of who inspires them to shoot and why.
UTYESS also offers a Utah State Team award. After attending the required number of UTYESS events, the athletes scores are compiled and the top five athletes in each category, a total of 25 student-athletes, are named members of that year’s Utah State Team. The highest-scoring athlete in each category is named Team Captain. The earning this award have their photos taken and will be featured on posters in many of the gun clubs throughout the state of Utah, along with their name and shooting average in State Shoot literature. The winners of the Utah State Team and Rookies of the Year are also posted on the organization’s website.
UTYESS is funded in large by fundraising efforts conducted by the teams throughout the year. Perpetual funding is also available through the MidwayUSA Foundation’s Team Endowment Program. The MidwayUSA Foundation Team Endowment Program gives a community the ability to financially support a competitive youth shooting sports program. Teams grow their Team Endowment through fundraisers and donations. Thanks to generous donations from Larry and Brenda Potterfield, 100% of each donation goes to team endowment of a donor’s choice. Each team can then request a grant of 5% of their endowment balance once each year. At the close of 2019, UTYESS had $1,100,928.80 in endowment accounts held at MidwayUSA Foundation, providing an annual grant of $55,000.00 for Utah’s youth shooters in the UTYESS program.
Support directly from Larry and Brenda Potterfield has also been outstanding. Between 2012 and 2019 Larry and Brenda Potterfield have given Utah just over $900,000.00.
“Without these donations, a lot of kids would be unable to participate in the sport they are passionate about. The MidwayUSA Foundation and the Potterfield’s support helps make our sport possible,” said Kyson M., age 18, Cedar Clay Breakers.
Support for Utah’s youth shooting teams also comes from numerous other sponsors and supporters. Some of these include the NRA Foundation, ACUI Clay Target Program, Vista Outdoors, Federal Premium, Browning/Winchester, Scheels, Sportsmans Warehouse, the ATA and AIM programs, and countless others that are supporting individual teams and, in some cases, individual athletes.
“We are very proud to be a part of the success of your program and to help fund the needs of these youth shooting teams,” said Jim Reardon, Friends of NRA Field Representative. “I cannot stress enough how important these kids are to the future of this country and freedom!”
UTYESS Team and their head coaches are:
JR Nostrom, Cache Valley Crushers, Logan
Tony Campbell, Ogden Clay Dusters, Ogden
Steve Savage, Phoenix Clay Target Shooting Team, Farmington
Kelly Waldron, Davis Clays, Bountiful
Mike Stuart, Riverton Shooting Club, Salt Lake City
Kirk Horinek, Wasatch Wing & Clay Youth Shooting Team, Cedar Fort
Jenny McGowan, Skyline X, Spanish Fork
Richard Nielson, Trigger Therapy, Ephraim
Paul Niemeyer, Wild Goose Clays, Richfield
Dusty Wiseman, Milford Young Guns, Milford
Kyson Muhlestein, Cedar City Hot Shots, Cedar City
Kyson Muhlestein, Cedar Clay Breakers (Collegiate Team), Cedar City
Brad Jolley, Purgatory Orange Crush, Hurricane
UTYESS is also governed by an Executive Committee. The success and progression of the program has relied heavily and will continue to rely on the Executive Committee and its oversight. Their combined experience in shooting sports and business management has proven beneficial in the growth of UTYESS. The UTYESS Executive Committee consists of five officers:
Brian Beard, President, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Stuart, Executive Vice President, email@example.com
Jenny McGowan, Executive Vice President, firstname.lastname@example.org
Trent VanDam, Assistant Vice President, email@example.com
Dusty Wiseman, Executive Director of Southern Utah, firstname.lastname@example.org
The 2020 youth committee is led this year by Grayson Stuart and Haylie Peay
For more information on how you or your student-athlete can get involved in a youth shotgun shooting team in the UTYESS program, visit www.utyess.org.
About Utah Youth Education in Shooting Sports
Utah Youth Education in Shooting Sports (UTYESS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to educating youth in Utah about wildlife conservation and firearm safety and promoting youth shooting sports on a competitive and scholastic level throughout the State of Utah. Our purpose is to provide training and guidance to the youth shooting programs of Utah, with the goal of developing self-confidence, self-esteem, self-reliance, respect, personal discipline, responsibility, citizenship, teamwork, and sportsmanship through regular practice and competition at local, state, and national events. For more information on UTYESS or to find a team near you, visit www.utyess.org.
About USA Youth Education in Shooting Sports
USAYESS is a non-profit organization and the nation's only all-inclusive youth program which introduces, grows, supports, and educates youth, and their families to firearm safety, shooting sports and wildlife conservation and habitat. For more information, visit www.usayess.org
Shooters take aim in the Annie Oakley at the UTYESS Season Opener February 8, 2020.
The Skyline X team wins the traveling trophy in the UTYESS Season Opener February 8, 2020.
Waaatch Wing Youth Shooting Team takes aim during the UTYESS Season Opener February 8, 2020.